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I am a New York-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

Hiking the Lair o’ the Bear

Unlike most other Americans, I did not spend the Thanksgiving holiday holding hands around the table with family, nor did I spend it passed out on the couch with football flickering on the television. I was one of the minority who had to work on those days. Granted, it was a shorter work day, but I was there nonetheless. The one good thing about it, since I missed having a great feast with friends, was that the company provided a huge turkey dinner for everyone. And of course, being the glutton that I am, I gorged myself to the point of bursting.
The weather was still beautiful, so there seemed little reason to go for the gym to repent for my sins. Instead, to make up for the pounds, yes pounds and not calories, that I surely packed on in the day’s madness, I decided to devote my weekend to taking two hikes. After a little poking around on the Internet, I found two that looked good based on my present (lack of) fitness level, as well as the time I had available with the shortened daylight hours. The first one would be on the western side of town in Jefferson County at a place called Lair o’ the Bear.
I’ll admit it, the name is what initially caught my attention. The abbreviated “of” made me think it’d be an old fashioned family place with beautiful scenery and families picnicing – almost as if it were pulled straight out of a Dickens novel and plopped down into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. In a manner of speaking, this wasn’t too far off the mark. There was only one think that was missing from Charles’ tale, and that would be a guy standing in a half frozen river doing a bit of fly fishing as he pooch eagerly looked on.

After two days of gorging myself I was in no shape to do anything too strenuous. For that simple reason I chose to do the Lair o’ the Bear hike first – it is just under two miles in length, and has plenty of scenic overlooks to stop at and take a photo while catching your breath.
After a short stroll along Bear Creek, I crossed the Dipper Bridge and made my climb up the Bruin Bluff Trail. The name is fitting because I didn’t see a single bruin, not even Yogi and Boo-Boo, but was instead bluffed into thinking there’d be something hiding in the tall ponderosa pines. I had no issues with disappointment, though, as I enjoyed the beautiful views on a warm, sunny day on a well-kept trail.

The end to the loop, which was sometimes lightly covered in snow, came all too quickly; I walked out of the woods and across the Ouzel Bridge, taking notice of a fisherman working all too hard on a Saturday afternoon for dinner, as I made for the carpark. I passed a large picnic area that was jammed with a family tripping over each other in an attempt to get to the hot dogs that I could smell on the south side of the river. I momentarily thought about jumping into the fray, but then decided otherwise since it was likely that they’d notice I wasn’t related more quickly than I’d like.
While I walked toward my car I wished the trail was longer. I wanted to continue on my hike that day and not have it end so soon. It almost seemed like a day wasted if I didn’t keep going. But, there were no remaining paths that required my exploration. So, instead, I decided to save myself for the next afternoon, which was guaranteed to be just as nice before the snow and cold came in at night, and hit the trail again with the same vigor.

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